No site in sight for Jeff Koons' Tulips in Paris

PARIS • American artist Jeff Koons is finding it hard to get Paris to accept his gift.

A site for a controversial art installation and memorial to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in the French capital - that claimed 130 lives - has still not been found, the culture ministry said on Monday.

The brightly coloured, 10m-tall Bouquet Of Tulips, a work of bronze, stainless steel and aluminium that weighs 35 tonnes, has been the subject of tension for months.

The culture ministry confirmed that no decision had been made after a meeting with Paris city officials and the artist's representatives.

Koons is known for his brash, voluptuous works of pop art which come with stellar price tags.

He provoked an outcry when he said he wanted his work to be installed on the esplanade of the contemporary art museum Palais de Tokyo, which faces the Eiffel Tower.

But Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen told the Figaro newspaper on Monday that "we will offer him another place".

The tulips should be erected somewhere "popular, visible and shared by everyone", she added.

A park in the north of Paris has been tipped as a possible alternative, according to a source from the park's management.

A person familiar with the discussion said Koons' representatives were not happy to learn through the media that the Palais de Tokyo had been ruled out.

In January, artists, gallery owners and officials, including former culture minister Frederic Mitterrand, signed an open letter objecting to the planned memorial.

The letter described Koons as an "emblem of industrial art which is spectacular and speculative" and slammed the cost of installing the sculpture.

"We appreciate gifts, but free ones," they wrote.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline 'No site in sight for Jeff Koons' Tulips in Paris'. Print Edition | Subscribe